The Presentation of The Gospel and The Doctrine of Grace

Iain Murray

    “Preach Christ and leave doctrines alone,” has been the popular outcry. As though it were possible to declare who Jesus is, and the necessity and nature of conversion, without teaching doctrine! Beneath such a statement there lies the common delusion that it matters not what a man believes so long as he rests on Christ in some vague way. We are here concerned to assert that not only doctrine in general, but the doctrines of grace in particular are necessary for a correct presentation of the Gospel. We mean such doctrines as fallen man's total inability, the sovereign mercy of God in election and the almighty work of the Holy Ghost in conversion. Now the objection which confronts us is one which is widely accepted by evangelicals, namely that whatever be the truth of these doctrines, they have no essential place in the preaching of the Gospel, they are not necessary for Scriptural evangelism. There can be no question that this commonly accepted view has governed the presentation of the Gospel fro many years, yet when we stand aside for a moment from the opinions of our times and look back across the centuries, we are met with the plain fact that this view is in reality a radical departure from the evangelical witness of former generations. We are not therefore raising this matter in a controversial spirit byt out of the conviction that the spiritual barrenness of our days, the withdrawal of the powerful operations of the Holy Ghost, the widespread absence of the fear of God among the people, may well be related to this variance in our presentation of the Gospel.
      Now of course the only way to ascertain whether such variance does in fact exist is to examine some church history. Let us then direct our attention to periods when the Spirit of God was mightily poured out upon people under the ministry of the Word. How was the Gospel presented in such times? Under what kind of doctrines were multitudes savingly converted? We will look at three perio9ds during the last 300 years when the operations of the Spirit in great power have been in evidence.
      Between the years 1625-1630, there was a widespread revival of serious religion in Scotland, wrought through preaching attended by the authority of the Holy Ghost. Five hundred persons traced their conversion to one sermon preached by John Livingstone in 1630 at Kirk of Shotts. At Irvine, multitudes under deep concern for their souls attended the preaching of David Dickson. “Few,” says Howie “were more instrumental in this work than he.” On Monday evenings (being market day) Dickson preached to large congregations, many coming in from the countryside. This was accompanied by such distressing, then saving effects, that a revival known as the “Stewarton sickness” broke out in the area. Listen then to something of Dickson's preaching; from his text 2 Timothy 2:19, he concludes: “that the doctrine of election and reprobation is a doctrine which may be safely taught and propounded unto people, albeit men say it should not be meddled with, because (say they) “it makes some men despair, and others become careless what they do.” I answer, let God make an answer for His own doctrine, who has commanded us to teach it... The apostle says boldly, the election obtained it and the rest were blinded. Would Christ have propounded this doctrine if it had been dangerous? Therefore we oppose to such canal men, secure sleepers in sin, this doctrine of Christ and His apostles, clearly set down in scripture. Let non take offense at this doctrine, for Christ's sheep will hear His voice and if any will startle away, let them go... This doctrine is a strong attractive to draw back those who are fallen in error or vice, that they lie not in it; for this doctrine forces such men to turn to God, or else, to take on the name of reprobates... It is a doctrine meant for this age, wherein God is mocked and blaspheme by the lewd lives of those who are called Christians, to tell them that they must either turn to God, or take home with them those black tidings, that they are vessels of dishonour, fitted for destruction. This doctrine is very needful to put men to their decisions; and yet it condemns not a man to hell presently, who is lying in sin; but it tells him that there are some elect who will come home; and some reprobate, who will not come home. Therefore, if a man be elect, albeit for the time he be a deboshed villain, this doctrine will serve him for the third and last summons: for when he hears that he must either quit his sinful courses, or have no portion with God, presently he must resolve, I will renounce my old lovers, my uncleanness, worldliness, and turn in to God, and seek a covering to hide my vileness, and a garment to make me beautiful in the eyes of God. This effect will this doctrine work in the elect.”
      Such was the preaching which accompanied the great Scottish awakening of the seventeenth century.
      The next period when the soul-saving effects of the Gospel were so gloriously displayed was t the time of the New England revival. Jonathan Edwards, the foremost instrument in this movement has left us a full account of it, and of the sermons which he preached at that time, in his works. New England had flourished in the seventeenth century under the Gospel ministries of several eminent Puritans, but early in the eighteenth a marked decay in piety and seriousness became evident. “Mirth and jollity” and vain amusements began to engage the young. Concerning the year 1734, Edwards wrote, “Arminianism seemed to appear with a very threatening aspect upon the interest of religion here. The friends of vital piety trembled for fear of the issue. Many who looked on themselves as in a Christ-less condition seemed to be awaked by it, with fear that God was about to withdraw from the land, and that we should be given up to heterodoxy and corrupt principles; and that their opportunity for obtaining salvation would be past.”
     Yet, as Edwards says,this event led to wonderful consequences. Despite the censure of some he began to oppose these errors in his preaching, and it was attended with a very remarkable blessing of heaven to the souls of the people. “In the latter part of December” (1734, Edwards' narrative continues) “the Spirit of God began extraordinarily to set in, and wonderfully to work amongst us... a great and earnest concern about the great things of religion, and the eternal world, became universal in all parts of the town, and amongst all persons of all degrees, and all ages...religion was with all sorts the great concern, and the world was a thing only by the bye. The only thing in their view was to get the kingdom of heaven. It was ten a dreadful thing amongst us to lie out of Christ...the number of true saints multiplied; the town seemed to be full of the presence of God: it never was so full of love, nor of joy, and yet so full of distress, as it was then... This remarkable pouring out of the Spirit of God extended from one end to the other of this country.” This is but a brief extract of the amazing account Edward gives, we are chiefly concerned with the doctrine preached at this time. “The drift of the Spirit of God in His legal strivings,” writes Edwards, “seemed most evidently to be to bring persons to a conviction of their absolute dependence on His sovereign power and grace... I think I have found that no discourses have been more remarkably blessed, than those in which the doctrine of God's absolute sovereignty, with regard to the salvation of sinners, and His just liberty, with regard to answering prayers of natural men have been insisted on... As to those in whom awakenings seem to have a saving issue, commonly the first thing that appears is a conviction of the justice of God in their condemnation. In giving an account of this, they expressed themselves very variously; some that they saw God was sovereign and might receive others and reject them; some, that they were convinced, God might justly bestow mercy on every person in the town, in the world, and damn themselves to all eternity; some that if they should seek, and take the utmost pains all their lives, God might justly cast them into hell at last, because all their labours, prayers and tears cannot make atonement for the least sin...some have declared themselves to be in the hands of God, that He may dispose of them just as He pleases.
     Whatever Minister has a like occasion to deal with souls under such circumstances, I cannot but think he will soon find himself under a necessity, greatly to insist upon it with them, that God is under no manner of obligation to show mercy to any natural man... It appears to me, that if I had taught those who came to me under trouble, any other doctrine I should have taken a most direct course to undo them. I should have directly crossed what was plainly the drift of the Spirit of God in His influences upon them, and blocked up their way to that humiliation before the Sovereign Disposer of life, and death, whereby God is wont to prepare them for His consolations.”
     In 1745 similar effects followed David Brainerd's evangelistic ministry among the Indians, resulting in a widespread revival. Scores of instances similar to the following could be quoted from Brainerd's narrative—“Those whom I have reason to think in a Christless state, were almost universally seized with concern for their souls. It was an amazing season of power among them, and seemed as if God had 'bowed the heavens and come down.' So astonishingly prevalent was the operation upon old as well as young, that it seemed as if non would be left in a secure and natural state...numbers of men and women, old and young, might be seen in tears, some in anguish of that there seemed here a lively emblem of the solemn days of accounts; a mixture of heaven and hell, of joy and anguish inexpressible.” concerning his presentation of the Gospel Brainerd writes, “Those doctrines, which had the most direct tendency to humble the fallen creature, to show him the misery of his natural state, to bring him down to the foot of Sovereign Mercy, and to exalt the great Redeemer— discover His transcendent excellency—were the subject matter of what was delivered.” Brainerd records the effect of these doctrines upon numerous individuals; he is assured of conversion of one man for “his heart echoes to the soul humbling doctrines of grace, and he never appears better pleased than when he hears of the absolute sovereignty of God.” A woman who had long quarreled against God “because He would, if he pleased, send her to hell...was brought to a comfortable calm, and seemed to be bowed and reconciled to divine sovereignty; and told me 'she now saw and felt it was right God should do with her as He pleased.' Others,” continues Brainerd “were refreshed to find that love to God in themselves, which was an evidence of His electing love to them.”
        Finally let us look briefly at the revival which began at Kilsyth in Scotland in 1839, and which spread to other parts of the land. The occasion of the outbreak of this awakening was the preaching of William Burns on the text Psalm 110:3, “Thy people shall be willing in the day of Thy power.” Burns tells us that the heads of his sermon were these “I. The person spoken of—they are God's elect—those given to Christ of the Father. II. The promise of the Father to Emmanuel regarding those persons— 'they shall be willing.' III. The time of the promise—the day of Emmanuel's power.” In opening his discourse Burns insisted on man's inability to will what was pleasing to God, “it is the crowning part of man's depravity that his will is opposed to the will of God... this is the state of the fallen soul by nature; and therefore, my friends, when God brings back in His infinite love the souls of His elect people, He makes them willing.” At the end of this sermon while he was pleading with the unconverted to close with God's offers of mercy, the Spirit of God descended upon the people. “During the whole of the time that I was speaking, the people listened with the most riveted and solemn attention; but at the last their feelings became too strong for all ordinary restraints and broke forth simultaneously in weeping and wailing, intermingled with shouts of joy and praise from some of the people of God. The appearance of a great part of the people from the pulpit gave me an awfully vivid picture of the state of the ungodly in the day of Christ's coming to judgment. Some were screaming out in agony; others, and among these strong men, fell to the ground as if they had been dead...”
         Now what do all these quotations prove? They demonstrate that these doctrines have been predominant in times when God mightily honoured the preaching of the Gospel.
        It remains for us to briefly summarize some reasons why these doctrines are essential to Scriptural presentation of the Gospel. The natural man is content to live “without God in the world” Eph.2:12 until he sees the dreadfulness of his condition and the desirableness of conversion. This discovery comes to him by the apprehension that he is a creature of God, could to obey His Law in every point, yet because of his sin unable to do so. His duty to meet God's righteous claims is the same as when God created him perfect and holy; his inability is a proof of the fall and of his sin. He is still a creature and has not lost his responsibility, but as a sinner he is now “not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be” Rom. 8:7. He has lost his ability to obey God. Guilt and helplessness are the causes of the sinner's misery, and only when he comes to self-despair does he start to “fear God which is the beginning of wisdom” Psa. 111:10. Pride is the grand obstacle to conversion, and nothing more humbles man than to realize that he depends upon the sovereign mercy of God, and that Christ alone is able to save him.
       Man's sinful inability applies equally to the commands of the Gospel. Faith and repentance are his duty, God has commanded them just as He has commanded the Law; but he can no more believe and love Christ than he can believe and love God—which is the first commandment. The natural man is no mere able to decide for Christ than he is able to decide to keep the Law. Therefore while the preacher is to exhort men to believe on Christ, he is at the same time to plainly declare that conversion is a work of Divine power. Saving faith is a gift of God (Eph. 2:8) and not to teach this leads to the fatal error of accepting a mere profession of assent to the Gospel as a sign of salvation. There is a 'temporary faith' Matt. 4:16-17, and there is the faith of devils who believe and tremble (James 2:19). “The faith of God' s elect” Titus 1:1 is of an entirely different nature and origin; it involves a renewal of the whole person; God makes a new creature, implants new principles in the soul—hatred of sin, love of holiness, desires for heaven. To teach that a soul has a saving faith before these marks of his “calling and election” (2 Peter 1:10) by God are evident, leads to Antinomianism, carelessness, and the eternal delusion of multitudes. Unless these truths of God's Sovereignty in conversion are taught, Luther rightly says, 'every man will bolster himself up with a delusive home pf a share in that salvation which is supposed to lie open to all; and thus genuine humility and fear of God would be kicked out of doors.” In conclusion we would assert that unless the doctrines of Grace underlie the presentation of the Gospel, a true view of the glorious nature of conversion is impossible. Edwards tells us that prior to the revival in New England there had been “a great deal of talk about conversion and spiritual experiences,” but when persons became the subjects of conversion they declared their former idea of it was “brought to nothing... they have seen themselves brought down, and become nothing, that free grace and divine power may be exalted in them.”

Creating a hope chest...

     Creating a hope chest is not that hard to do. It's exciting to look for things that you know you'll need when your married, such as, serving dishes, books, cooking utensils, furniture, table cloths, etc. Or maybe you would like to have a certain theme in your future home and you want to collect things to fit that theme.

      In this day and age we women have lost the desire to be wives and mothers. To look forward and plan for a future home and new responsibilities. We look at that role as a secondary plan, an after collage plan, or not even a goal. Yet, who are we to tell God when we will or will not be marry or what we should be or not be? He has everything planed out for our lives and as women our biblical role is to support our fathers and brothers (when we're not married) and if God so blesses, to support a husband someday. We're use to that fast pass "All I care about is now" attitude. Yet, in the "old days" (grandparents or for some great-grand parents time) when women were raise with the goal of  being a wives and mothers someday. 
They worked on creating a hope chest, such as; baby cloths, quilts, pillows, dishes, etc.
     So I thought it would be fun to share with you some of the things I've been collecting over the years for my future home. Maybe this will encourage you ladies out there to start your own hope chest. You don't need to have actual wooden chest, you can put things in a plastic storage container(s) or in a closet. 

Be creative!  

        When I turned 19 my mom and I went to a nearby flee market for a girls day out. When we were there I fell in love with a set of dishes. Now I never looked at dishes as something to buy before but that set was a keeper! Then I found a hutch. It had leaded stain glass windows and was beautiful! Mom said I could get it, so we put it on layaway. That day was the start of my hope chest or in this case hope hutch.

My "hope chest" is now overflowing with all sorts china and serving wear.
This is the set that I found at the flee market. It's from Pfaltzgraff called Naturewood.
Since then I have collected bits pieces at Goodwill, antique shops, and flea markets.  
Wedgwood is hard and expensive to find.
This was a unique find at a Goodwill that my mom found for only (drum roll please) .99 cents!
Another find from my mom (not Wedgwood) but very cute. 
What designs or patterns would you like to have in your future home? 
I enjoy the old Winne-the-Pooh and Beatrix Potter stories, so I thought I'd decorate my nursery with Beatrix Potter and Winnie-the-Pooh stuff.

This Christmas my brother, Mom, and Dad refurbished Mom's old hope chest for me to use.
This is the most unique thing I think I own. My mom found it last year for my birthday. If anyone can figure out what the third glass shaker is for please let me know! 
You can collect china to add that delicate feminine touch to your future home...
Or something fun, yet practical...
Maybe you like more of a country style...
Another thing I've collected a bit of is stoneware. I really like baking bread and muffins in it, so when I was able I would buy some here and there. Sometimes I even found some at flea markets!
I find that we always need a plater to put things on and when it is decorative it  adds to the table.
Serving dishes are nice to have when you have friends or  family over. 
If you enjoy sewing, knitting, or crochet, why not make quilts, pillow cases, hand made pot holders, or baby cloths? 
I also like to collect old books. My Mom bought many old books through year, many of which  my brother and I have enjoyed!  

You can also collect  informational books that you would like to use for when you have children. I have been slowly getting good poetry books, good cookbooks, history books, biographies, good fiction books, etc. for when I have children and start homeschooling them.
What about good children book that you enjoyed when a child?  It's amazing what comes to mind when you start brainstorming!  

Maybe you have fond memories of playing dress-up with you siblings. Why not collect some dresses, hats, gloves, and so on for your own children to play with some day?
Or maybe not that long ago....
Get inventive!
Another thought to pass on to you young ladies, 'what would be something that you could have that would bless your future husband?' It could be collecting things that would make the  dinning room table decorative at dinner time. Or maybe it's not items but skills, such as knowing how to do finances and bookkeeping.  

What ideas do you have? Feel free to share your ideas and suggestions.  I'd love to hear them. 

Search The Scriptures

By Iain Murray

The attitude of a man to the Scriptures is indicative of the state of his soul before God. The language of a Christian is, “O how I love Thy Law.” He desires to Treasure the Word of God more “than thousands of gold and silver” Psalm 119, whereas the ungodly are marked out as those who have no delight in the Law of the Lord, and such “shall not stand in the judgment.” Psalm 1. Believers, like Joshua, are commanded to search and meditate in this Book day and night Joshua 1:8, but those who fail to tremble at the authority of this Word Isaiah 66:2, and carelessly despise its divine origin, “shall be destroyed.” Proverb 13:13. Judge the state of your soul by whether you have learned this fear of God, and His Word, “which is the beginning of wisdom.”
But not only may the temporal and eternal condition of individuals be judged from their regard of Scripture, there is also no surer test of the state of the visible church than the prevailing attitude towards of the Bible. The prosperity of the church is invariable in proportion to her valuation of God's Word. The Reformation in the sixteenth century is clear proof that the church flourishes when the Word is exalted. Consider the Reformers' view of Scripture. Luther affirmed “That he would not take all the world for one leaf of the Bible.” And Luther proved his regard for God's Word by his knowledge of it. During his early ministry, he tells us, there was not verse in Scripture which if quoted to him he could not instantly place! Ridley knew by heart the whole of Paul's Epistles. Beza, when over 80 years of age, could relate exactly all the Psalms and the Epistles in their original. Such a hunger to know Scripture was not confined to ministers. During the reign of Henry VIII (while the possession of any portion of the Bible was punished by burning at the stake) an English farmer gave a whole cartload of hay for only one page of James' Epistle! Many of the English martyrs, though only laymen, were able at their trials mightily to use the Scripture they had memorized in answering their adversaries. How greatly did the cause of God prosper when this attitude to The Word of God prevailed!
On the other hand, when the church is in a declining, and powerless condition, the cause will always be found to be connected with an absence of true and deep knowledge of a true and deep knowledge of Gods Word . Never for four hundred years in England , perhaps, has the Bible been so little known in the church—even in evangelical church— as to-day. The direct result is that the visible church is in a desperately low condition. But as few will be prepared to accept that ignorance of Scripture is the characteristic mark of the religion of our times, let us confirm the statement by some proofs. When a low view of Scripture prevails it will always betray itself by certain definite marks. Three of these marks we will consider.

  1. Error is regarded as comparatively harmless, and the importance of purity of doctrine is minimized.
    This is sure mark of ignorance. Error, heresy, and ignorance of Scripture are soul-destroying things. “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge.” Hosea 4:6. “That the soul be without knowledge, it is not good.” Proverbs 19:2. It is a fearful threatening, “they shall die without Knowledge.” Job 36:12. Ignorance makes a man the object of Divine wrath. Christ shall come “in flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God,” 1 Thessalonians 1:8. Eusebius records that the aged Apostle John so feared heresy, that he refused to enter a building when he learnt that the heretic Cerinthus was inside, saying “Let us depart lest the house wherein the Lord's enemy is should fall on our heads.”
    Where shall we go to-day to find men who have such a view of the importance of sound doctrine? Is the doctrine of men who are allowed to join in on evangelistic campaigns examined? Are converts told not to go to certain churches? Do not young men preparing for the ministry attend Colleges where the Word is not purely taught? What is all this but a disregarding of God's displeasure over error, and a failure to recognize that where error prevails there God's judicial blindness reigns. Errors are God's bullets with which He destroys gainsayers— “O stand not where God's bullets fly,” Says Gurnall. “Take heed what ye hear!” Mark 4:24, Proverbs 19:27.

    1. Lack of desire or concern to grow in knowledge becomes evident.
Man was made a rational creature, and endowed with noble faculty of understanding in order to know God. The result of the Fall was to remove from his mind any saving knowledge of God— “There is none that understandeth.” Romans 3:11. The great purpose of redemption is nothing less than to restore men to a knowledge of God, “This is life eternal, that they might know thee” John 17:3, and only by this means is a man able to glorify and enjoy God forever.
While all regenerate persons, all believers, have a desire to know God, they have it in varying degrees of strength. We can unmistakably test the measure of our desire by our diligence in studying Scripture—for by this Book alone can we increase in a true knowledge of God. Who can doubt that the seventeenth century Puritans were the greatest searchers, expositors, and preachers of God's Word our land has ever seen? The great power and force of their ministry lay in the tremendous emphasis they put on a profound understanding, of the Scripture. The biographer of the mighty Puritan Oliver Heywood (whose ministry affected much of the north of England) says, “He spent much of his time in his study. It was his custom to rise at an early hour.... he was assiduous in the pursuit of knowledge.” Heywood himself recorded in his diary, “I prize learning above all sublunary excellencies, and I might have been more useful had I improved my time better therein—Proverbs 10:14, 'Wise men lay up knowledge.'”
John Cotton, the great leader of the New England Puritans , lived under conviction of that sacred precept, “Give attendance to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine.” “He rose early, and commonly studied twelve hours a day, accounting that a scholar's day.” (Brook's Lives of the Puritans).
Likewise of Thomas Manton it was written, “His great delight was in his study.” The prolocutor the Westminster Assembly, William Twisse, when dying cried with his departing breath, “Now at length I shall have leisure to follow studies to all eternity!” The consuming passion of the Puritans was to know God. “To know Him,” records the historian Macaulay, “was with them the great end of existence.” They therefore unceasingly searched the Scriptures, and advanced far beyond any other generation of Englishmen in their ability to unfold their contents.

The duty of giving all diligence to add knowledge to faith, is laid by God upon all believers. 2 Peter 1:5. Listen to Jonathan Edwards exhorting his hearers—“We should make growing in knowledge a great part of the business of our lives...There is no doctrine of divinity whatever, which doth not some way or other concern the eternal interest of every christian. The Scriptures were written that they might be understood: otherwise they are not instructions... we can receive benefit by no more of the Scriptures than we understand... You all have by you a large treasure of Divine knowledge, in that you have the Bible in your hands; therefore be not content in possessing but little of this treasure. God hath spoken much to you in Scripture: labor to understand as much of what he saith as you can.”

A concern such as this to grow in knowledge is markedly absent amongst the generality of professing believers to-day. Superficiality abounds in every direction. Shallowness is excused as simplicity. Sermons that require no diligent preparation suit the taste of congregations that are not accustomed to girding up the loins of congregations that are not accustomed to girding up the lions of their minds. It is presumed that the contents of Scripture concerning God, His simple, the whole revelation of Scripture concerning God, His Being, Attributes, and Purposes, is a subject that the minds of prophets and angels can only “search” and “look into,” 1 Peter 1:11-13; a subject that staggered the understanding of the Apostle Paul so that he could only cry out, “O the depth” Romans 11:33, and call the Gospel a “great mystery” 1 Timothy 3:16. This attitude towards Scripture always prevails amongst those who are no longer babes in the truth. “Religion itself is a deep mystery,” says Richard Sibbes, “it requires a great deal of learning.” Listen again to one of the greatest Puritans, John Owen—“ Do not suppose that you have leaned anything of God in Christ, of the mystery of His grace, unless you see therein such evidence of infinite wisdom, goodness, holiness, love, in all things so suited unto the eternal glory of God and advantage of your own souls, as that you may admire, adore, delight in them, and cleave unto them with a holy, prevalent, unconquerable love. When you do so, then will you be established in the truth.”

3. The Lack of praise and spiritual joy becomes apparent.

When believers are little acquainted with Scripture this mark is always manifested. The Word of God is the ground and foundation of true joy and praise— “These things write we unto you that your joy may be full.” 1 John 1:4. The Word was written for a purpose. There is no such thing as joy in the Holy Ghost apart from the knowledge and belief of God's Word— “Believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory.” 1 Peter 1:8. The only way for a believer to be established in a joyful assurance is to know his privileges and exalted position to which God as raised him in Jesus Christ. Satan's constant work is to keep us ignorant, or make us forget the dignity and strength that we have. Truly, Sibbes says, “A Christian is a more excellent creature than he thinks.” “Unacquaintedness with our mercies, and our privileges, is our sin as well as our trouble,” writes John Owen. “We hearken not to the voice of the Spirit which is given to us 'that we may know the things that are freely given to us of God.' 1 Corinthians 2:12. This makes us go heavily, when we might rejoice.”

Let us then ask how much spiritual joy is to be seen to-day and we shall immediately be able to judge how much or little the Scriptures are known. Oh, who is not aware that in most evangelical circles, carnal mirth, frivolity, “foolish talking and jesting” Ephesians 5:4, are accepted as signs of a healthy Christian life, and have replaced joy in the Holy Ghost! We read recently in a well known Christian newspaper the report of a campaign meeting o a man who is now being acclaimed as a leading evangelist— “He pummeled the audience into warmth and enthusiasm. He cracked jokes about the Cup ties. More singing....more jokes about the Cup ties. Everybody singing and laughing...” How could such 'evangelism' as this flourish except amongst people who are grossly ignorant of Scripture! True spiritual joy is accompanied by deep seriousness. The soul is overpowered by eternal realities and walks in the fear of God. That this work of the Spirit is rarely to be seen is a sure mark of the neglect of Scripture.

We have thus far been largely considering some evidences of the ignorance of Scripture that abounds in our times. We could summarize the conclusion to be drawn in such words as these— “Not one in a hundred read their Bibles to be called reading.” The subject could be much enlarged, but what we have said is sufficient to establish in our minds that the first requisite to a diligent study of the Bible is this:— We must be convinced of the necessity of searching the Scriptures. And this conviction will not be impressed upon us until we seethe perils of ignorance, and the desirability of knowledge— “Blessed is the man that findeth wisdom, and the man that getteth understanding.” Proverbs 3:13-14. We must aroused to walk contrary to the spirit of our times and fear to be infected by the prevailing attitude to the Scriptures. It is hard to live in the midst of a plague and be kept unaffected.

A brief application remains. We can draw from the solemnity of our days arguments to increase our diligence in the Scriptures. Just as Egypt was made to know the worth of light by the want of it Exodus 10:21-24, and just as a sick man learns the value of health by the absence of it, so God makes men value His word by sending a famine for it. Contempt of the Word is punished by judicial blindness, so that though men may still possess the Scriptures and read them (as the Pharisees and Sadducees did at the time of Christ), they are given over to blindness and a true understanding is removed from them. John 12:39-40. The famine is a famine “of hearing the words of the Lord.” Amos 8:11, that is God removes those who truly expound it. Unless God in mercy reverses His present sentence against us, there are surely awful judgments ahead. “How guilty (in neglect of Scripture) our English nation is, is too manifest to write, and what we have cause to expect for it, I tremble to write.” Three centuries of God's longsuffering have passed over the land since Elnathan Parr wrote those words. It may be that now our guilt has reach its limit. “I have written to him the great things of my law, but they were counted as a strange thing...Now will He remember their iniquity, and visit their sins.” Hosea 8:12-13.
But the children of God need not fear the future, “For wisdom is a defense.” Ecclesiastes 7:12. They who have let the Word of Christ dwell in them richly in all wisdom Colossians 3:16 will be like Joseph who while there was time and opportunity laid up stores for the time of need. Believers shall overcome the world and the devil, “By the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony.”  

Our Farm this last year

Our very high energy filled, high jumping, extremely smart and can get out of almost anywhere dog, Sherlock. He's part Whippet and part Australian Shepherd. So he has the speed of one and the brains from the other.

 Our first year trying to grow watermelons in our greenhouse. 
It worked but not as well as we had hoped. Maybe this coming spring we can try again.
The greenhouse over flowing with tomato plants, peppers, basil, and nasturtiums!
We tried 5 types of peppers and surprisingly the cayenne peppers grew the best.
The beans had a hard time during the spring and early summer but the ended up taking over the entire planter!
Our strawberries grew like weeds and we got strawberries even through September!
I think we had almost to many cucumbers. We had about 16 vines and they went crazy. I think the whole family had their fill of Greek salad. 

Last year I finally saved up enough money to buy 18 ducks. They arrived late in March on a rather cold and stormy day.
We had a pin in the "Duck Mansion" all ready for them. We counted them and found we had one extra! I bought them sexed so I didn't end up with more males then I needed. I ordered 11 Khaki Campbell ducks (those are the brown ones) and 7 Welsh Harlequins (2 drakes and 5 ducks). After we counted them we found out that there was an extra one. Later that one turned out to be a female!  

That day we lost power twice and had to put them in the house where they could stay a bit warmer.   Late that night we lost power again and my dad and I ran out to load them up and bring them into the house again.  It was an adventurous first day to say the least. But after that everything settled down a bit.

This is them at 3 or 4 weeks old. So big already!
And then.....

What happened? 

They all grew up! They are about 5 or 6 months old here.

Dad and Matt did a great job building the pond. I don't know how they would have survived with out a place to swim.

This one is a bit odd. I don't have a name for her but she has a little "egg" shaped bump on her head.

When we drain the pond they love the little creek it makes as it goes out to the back woods. Lots of little goodies to find.

Meet one of my two Welsh Harlequin drakes: Carwyn
I thought I'd named all my Welsh Harlequins Welsh names or at least something from the English Isles.
My other WH drake has more reddish brown on his chest and his name is Gwalchgwyn
 The Khakis don't have any names because try as I might I can't tell them apart.

This is Lucy. I don't know when we first notice that her bill was twisting but it was when they were about a month old. She is a lot braver then the rest, though smaller. Lucy can't eat pellets since she can't move her top bill. Yet she seems to be enjoying life.

This is Margret. The other Welsh Harlequin ducks that I have named so far are Gwyna or Gwyneth, and Juliet.

Our Rhode Island Red Rooster. Contrary to what most people say about roosters and Rhodies in particular, I have yet to have a mean rooster. We got two white roosters this year and gave one away, then we found out that we also had two Rhodie roosters and a Buff Orpington rooster. So we kept one Rhodie and the Buff. They all seem to get along very well.

Our white rooster is one of the sweetest of the three roosters on the farm. 
Our one almost solid white hen. We still don't know what she is, but she knows how to get out of almost any area we put her in.

One of our Silver Lace Wyandottes 
This is Cloe our only Easter Araucana. She lays almost olive green eggs.
I hope to post more pictures of Providence Family Farms soon! So stay tuned!

Hallelujah Chorus in a Food Court?

I saw this right before Christmas time but never had a chance to post it. It is wonderful to hear the Scriptures sung like that. It is very well done and hope you all enjoy it!

An Article to Consider

Here is an interesting article in an age when feminism was becoming more and more the standard for a woman, yet this article has some very true and insightful guidelines to follow.

In case this is hard to read in spots I have transcribed it:
Housekeeping Monthly, May 13 1955
The Good Wife's Guide

- Have dinner ready. Plan ahead, even the night before, to have a delicious meal ready, on time for his return. This is a way of letting him know that you have been thinking about him and are concerned about his needs. Most men are hungry when they come home and the prospect of a good meal (especially his favorite dish) is part of the warm welcome needed.

- Prepare yourself. Take 15 minutes to rest so you'll be refreshed when he arrives. Touch up your make-up, put a ribbon in your hair and be fresh-looking. He has just been with a lot of work-weary people.

- Be a little gay and a little more interesting for him. His boring day may need a lift and one of your duties is to provide it.

- Clear away the clutter. Make one last trip through the main part of the house just before your husband arrives.

- Gather up school books, toys, paper, etc. and run a dust cloth over the tables.

- Over the cooler months of the year you should prepare and light a fire for him to unwind by. Your husband will think he has reached a haven of rest and order, and it will give you a lift too. After all, catering for his comfort will provide you with immense personal satisfaction.

- Prepare the children. Take a few minuets to wash their hands and faces (if they are small), comb their hair, and if necessary, change their cloths. They are little treasures and he would like to see them playing the part. Minimize all noise. At the time of his arrival, minimize all noise of the washer, dryer, or vacuum. Try to encourage the children to be quiet.

- Be happy to see him.

- Greet him with a warm smile and show sincerity in your in your desire to please him.

- Listen to him. You may have a dozen important things to tell him, but the moment of his arrival is not the time. Let him talk first- remember, his topics of conversation are more important then yours.

- Make the evening his. Never complain if he comes home late or goes out to dinner, or other places of entertainment without you. Instead try to understand his world of strain and pressure and his very real need to be at home and relax.

- Your goal: Try to make your home a place of peace, order and tranquility where your husband can renew himself in both body and spirit.

- Don't greet him with complains and problems.

- Don't complain if he's late for dinner or even if he stays out all night. Count this a minor compared to what he might have gone through that day.

- Make him comfortable. Make him lean back in a comfortable chair or have him lie down in the bedroom. Have a cool or warm drink ready for him.

- Arrange his pillow and offer to take off his shoes. Speak in a low, soothing and pleasant voice.

- Don't ask him questions about his actions or question his judgement or integrity. Remember, he is the master  of the house and as such will always exercise his will with fairness and truthfulness. You have no right to question him.

- A good wife always knows her place.

     Now there is obviously some things that wouldn't be right for a husband to do. 
If my husband went somewhere to eat or a place of entertainment for work then that would be understandable. But if not then I could see a problem with that. Yet, it's best to save that discussion for after he's had a good meal and rest.  
    The other one that didn't seem quite right was the second to last one. "Remember, he is the master of the house and as such will always exercise his will with fairness and truthfulness." 
    Now they are correct that he is the master of the house, but that he is always going to do or say what is right isn't biblical. We men and women are all sinners, so we don't do what is fair or truthful save through Christ and even then we stumble. But if there was a problem in that realm, that too could wait until dinner is over and a bit of quiet time is observed before bringing up that subject.
   This article all in all is a good guide line for what a man likes to see or not see when he comes home from a hard days' work. We as the women of the house need to make sure we make our home a place of relaxation and enjoyment for the men when they come home. Send them off to take a nice hot shower, get them something special to eat, or whatever they like to do to relax and unwind. 
     Picture coming home after running tons of errands all day with the children home working on chores. But when after being gone all day you find that the dishes are still sitting where everyone put them after breakfast with more added to the pile, the house yet to be vacuumed or even picked up, trash is in need of removal and even the beds haven't been made. 
    Now change it around, picturing how you would feel in that moment, but instead with your husband coming home to see disaster all around him. His wife is frustrated, a child has just been spanked, another coming close to the same disciplinary action and dinner has yet to be thought of. It's the same feeling. 
    I know our family has the same problem. We've had this scenario and similar ones happen more then once and it never helps dad relax or made any of the situations better. Though I'm not the wife nor mother in the house, I am the eldest and the only daughter, so it is up to me to make sure we have an idea of what is for dinner and dessert. I need to make sure things look organized, counters are clean, laundry is going, my room is cleaned up and maybe have something ready for him to snack on. (My dad is always hungry when he gets home, so a snack is a must for him. Unless of course dinner is on the table and ready to be eaten.) It's a hard habit to start and keep going. But when everything is ready and organized the way it should be, you do feel ready to relax with everyone else and enjoy a good family-time together. 

The world would say, "why bother I've had just as hard of a day as he has. Probably worse!" But as a Christian we are meant to serve others, even when we'd rather not.

"Be hospitable to one another without grumbling. As each one has received a gift, minister it to one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. If anyone speaks, let him speak as the oracles of God. If anyone ministers, let him do it as with the ability which God supplies, that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belong the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen."
1 Peter 4:9-11

   I'd love to hear what you think about this article! It has much food for thought don't you think?
I hope to be posting more with this next week so stay tuned!